Hacking Flow State

The world is increasingly baffling and it turns us into toddlers.

Today, we are going to look at introverts.

Information comes fast, at scale, and makes no sense a lot of the time. Basic biology and English words are getting new definitions and it’s only magnified if you scroll on your phone a little bit too much.

So how do you face this linguistic upheaval?

Short answer: write more, scroll less.

Humans can handle about 4 pieces of new information at a time, and when we exceed that, we start losing track. The problem with scrolling is that we can get angry about something, but forget why we were even angry in the first place.

This makes it hard to articulate your thoughts on a given issue.

Dr. Marti Olsen Laney talks about this in her book, The Introvert Advantage.

If you are an introvert, it’s increasingly difficult due to a less engaged short-term memory.

There are two types of memory we work off of short-term and long-term.

Introverts tend to work off of long-term memory which is why we often fumble over what we want to say at the moment.

This is called “word retrieval”.

Extroverts work off of short-term memory and are able to be much quicker. Though, they may forget to follow up on things they said because they didn’t lock it into their long-term. 

Sound familiar?

It’s almost as if the algorithms and echo chambers have reverted us to a toddler-like state.

Toddlers’ brains operate by focusing on the present, are unfiltered, and usually, they feel emotions strongly but lack the tools to regulate these emotions.

You throw some stress, hunger, and dehydration into the mix and you may say something you don’t really mean.

This goes back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; if you’re not getting the basics of food, water, shelter, and sleep, the way your brain operates, sleep and water is the most important.

It’s connected and it spirals.

Dehydration affects cognitive performances as water accounts for 75% of brain mass and in a study people who slept only six hours per night were found to have significantly higher rates of dehydration than people who slept eight hours.

Cognitive functions include how you learn, think, remember, problem-solve, make decisions, and even your attention span. 

Social media has been shown to increase anxiety, and lower your ability to attention switch, which then lowers your ability to retain new information.

Back to the introverts.

They (we) also feel emotions on a deeper level, which is why writing out thoughts can be a beneficial way to process these ideas. 

I find myself constantly taking notes now and writing ideas, even when I’m busy, so later on I can take the time to reflect and put more thought into it. 

One of my favorite quotes is from the father of advertising, David Ogilvy.

He said, “I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor.”

Invest time in writing your thoughts, no matter how little sense or structure they have.

Edit them and continue to build. 

You will sound and feel more informed, intelligent, and confident as you engage in intellectual conversations.